Months after the November election, Rita Hart concedes to Mariannette Miller-Meeks

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 3:20 PM CDT
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WHEATLAND, Iowa (KCRG) - Democratic Congressional candidate Rita Hart has announced she is ending her challenge to the November election win of Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

On Wednesday, Hart released the following statement:

After many conversations with people I trust about the future of this contest, I have made the decision to withdraw my contest before the House Committee on Administration. Since Election Day, and throughout this entire process, my mission has been about ensuring the voices of Iowans who followed the law are not silenced. I am saddened that some Iowans’ votes will not count through no fault of their own. The work of ensuring it does not happen again will continue beyond this campaign.

Despite our best efforts to have every vote counted, the reality is that the toxic campaign of political disinformation to attack this constitutional review of the closest congressional contest in 100 years has effectively silenced the voices of Iowans. It is a stain on our democracy that the truth has not prevailed and my hope for the future is a return to decency and civility.

I wish Mariannette Miller-Meeks all the best as she serves the people of this great state as Congresswoman. This has been a difficult process for all of those involved and it’s incredibly important that we work together to reform the system so this does not happen again in the future.

Running to represent the people of Iowa’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I got in this race to listen to the people of the district and bring your voices of common sense and decency to Washington, D.C. We must work to end the partisan gridlock and deliver for the working people in Iowa who are struggling to make ends meet.

To those who invested in this campaign -- donating a few extra dollars they could spare or volunteering time -- and to ALL of my supporters, my campaign team, and to my family, my children and grandchildren, and especially my husband Paul, thank you so much for your hope and passion. I could not have persevered on this journey without your tireless dedication and commitment.

I am a life-long Iowan and I will always work for a more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren. That won’t change regardless of this, or any, election. We have so much more to work for. I hope you all will stay involved and join me in working to make Iowa a better place for all.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced on Nov. 30 that the state canvassing board had certified the result in Iowa’s Second Congressional District race between Miller-Meeks and Hart.

Miller-Meeks finished with 196,964 votes to Hart’s 196,958, a difference of only six votes.

After the first count of votes in the state, Miller-Meeks held a 47-vote lead that was reduced by 41 during a full district recount.

Hart filed a petition in December asking the U.S. House of Representatives to weigh in on the race.

Hart alleged that at least 22 legally cast ballots were mistakenly left uncounted during the original canvass.

An attorney representing Miller-Meeks argued that Hart did not pursue the matter in Iowa courts as is precedent before going to Congress.

On March 10th, a U.S. House committee voted 6-3 to reject a motion to dismiss Hart’s petition to challenge the outcome. The vote was along party lines.

Responding to Hart’s decision to withdraw her challenge to Miller-Meeks’ election win, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley issued the following statement:

Midwest common sense has again prevailed over party politics in Washington. Speaker Pelosi appeared poised to reverse the election results in Iowa’s Second Congressional District, never mind that Rep. Miller-Meeks’ victory was reviewed multiple times and ultimately certified by Iowa’s bipartisan election board. Rita Hart did the right thing today by withdrawing her request that Washington partisans overrule the voices of 400,000 Iowans. Going down this road would have seriously damaged faith in our elections, which is why many in Pelosi’s own party expressed concern with such a blatant power grab.

Iowa Democratic Party Chair Rep. Ross Wilburn released the following statement on Hart’s decision to withdraw:

“Rita Hart is a selfless and dedicated public servant who has always worked to do what’s best for our state. Her efforts to ensure that every legal vote was counted in the 2nd District race are a reflection of her dedication to the people of Iowa. Over the past few months, we’ve seen dangerous, and frankly undemocratic rhetoric from Iowa Republicans who refused to let this bipartisan process take its course and decide the closest congressional race in 100 years. At the same time, we’ve watched a coordinated effort in Iowa and across the nation to make voting more difficult and discourage people from participating in the democratic process. Like we have been throughout this process, we remain firmly committed to protecting the right to vote, making sure every legal vote is counted, and protecting the democratic process for everyone, regardless of who they vote for.

1st District Congresswoman Ashley Hinson also released a statement on Hart’s decision to end her challenge to the election results:

Iowans elected Congresswoman Miller-Meeks to represent them in Congress and Rita Hart’s eventual decision to respect the will of Iowa voters is the right one. I look forward to continuing to serve Iowans alongside Congresswoman Miller-Meeks. This process was just a glimpse into how our elections would operate under H.R. 1—Democrats’ bill to take away states’ Constitutional authority to run their own elections and place this power in D.C. We must ensure people feel confident their votes count while illegal ones do not—and that means respecting each state’s right to run its own election system without federal interference.

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